Oxfam, the well-known group of charitable organizations, has released its latest report on the world’s wealth levels and it terms the results “unacceptable and unsustainable”.
The study shows that according to the data gathered by Swiss bank Credit Suisse, the wealth of the 42 people who are at the top of the global wealth ratings equals the wealth of 3.7 billion people worldwide, who make up half of the world’s poorest.
In 2009, this figure was at 380 and the margins have shrunk significantly during the past few years.
In a statement, Mark Goldring, the CEO of Oxfam in the UK, said:
The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food
The report has several more troubling findings. First, the average wealth of billionaires worldwide has grown by over 13 percent yearly in the period between 2006 to 2015. This rate is six times faster than the average laborer’s wealth generation. This gap between rich and poor is only increasing according to the research. A major concern for Oxfam is the pay gap between that of men and women. The study shows that women consistently earn less than men and often have access to less secure forms of work.
Oxfam estimates that it will take more than two hundred years for the global pay gap to be bridged if it stays at the current rate. An additional survey made by the group asked 70,000 people across the UK and nine other countries about their concern about the income gap and found two-thirds of them wishing their governments would do something about it.
This study by Oxfam is not alone in its projections of inequality when it comes to income. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Centre published a report in 2017 that showed that the average CEO of an FTSE 100 company in the UK earned £4.5m annually. In the same study, an average UK full-time employee would need to work 160 years to match that annual income. Bloomberg also released a report near the end of 2017 that showed that the world’s richest people added $1 trillion more to their collective worth in
These reports are a wake-up call for governments who are planning to meet in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.